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tennessee technological university

Hixson Student Success Center

In an effort to support the CORE VALUES of the College of Engineering, The Clay N. Hixson Student Success Center is pleased to present The Renaissance Engineer Professional Development Series. The Series consists of FREE 50 minute workshops held in Clement Hall Room 212 from 11:00 until 11:50 A.M. that cover a variety of topics. Please mark your calendar and join us.


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Topic: Economic development, job creation, legal ethics, state government and Community Development.

Speaker: Rebecca Smith, Regional Director, State of Tennessee Department of Economics

Rebecca Hargrove Smith joined the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development in June 2011 as regional director for the Upper Cumberland. As regional director, Smith is the primary point-of-contact for Upper Cumberland companies seeking state assistance with expansion or with accessing state services.

As a former TNECD specialist, Smith conducted asset-based strategic planning addressing community development needs in 14 counties. Prior to her work at TNECD, she held senior roles in government affairs and campaign management.

She is a graduate of the University of Tennessee at Knoxville, the Nashville School of Law and is a member of the Tennessee Bar.

September 22. 2015

Topic: TBA

Speaker: Cary Langham

Cary Langham is a graduate from Tuskegee University where he earned his BS in Mechanical Engineering December 2002. From there Cary went on to accept his first job out of college with Y-12 National Security as a Project Controls Engineer. After 2.5 years there was an opportunity for Cary to move into Manufacturing where he accepted a role as a Process Engineer. After working in Process Engineering for 9 years, Cary was offered the opportunity to move to England for the duration of 1 year serving as a Technical Liaison to the United Kingdom working under the 1958 Mutual Defense Agreement. By completing that assignment it provided him a Segway into management. In December 2014 Cary became the Mechanical Engineering Functional Manager in the Engineering and Science Organization. As the Mechanical Engineering Functional Manager he is responsible for providing engineer with process knowledge, training and tools essential to achieve the Missions Directorate Goals and Objective. Cary Langham currently manages over 60 Mechanical Engineers at both the Y-12 and the Pantex NNSA Complexes.

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Topic: Resumes

Speaker: Dr. Beth Powell, Coordinator for the Clay N. Hixson Student Success Center

Dr. Powell spent five years teaching technical communication at UT-Martin, four years teaching English composition at TTU, and is now working for Tennessee Tech’s College of Engineering in the Student Success Center. She is conducting research in engineering communication and hopes to use her experience and knowledge to help students at TTU succeed in college and when they graduate.

October 6, 2015

Topic: “How an Engineering Degree Supported Me in My Career in Law”

Speaker: Edward Stephen Jett

Edward Stephen Jett is a 1967 Engineering Science grad of TTU and a 1969 MS Aerospace Engineering grad of the U.T. Space Institute. He worked for two years in the Aerodynamics Department of General Dynamics, Fort Worth, TX (now Lockheed) during which time Steve decided to make a career change.

Steve then graduated from the University of Texas - School of Law in 1973 and practiced corporate and health care law in Chattanooga until March 31 when he retired from Chambliss, Bahner & Stophel. He now works part-time as Compliance Officer for Russ Blakely & Associates, a brokerage firm for health insurance and other employee benefits.

November 5, 2015

Topic:Management styles in the technical workplace

Speaker: Brad W. Long

Brad Long graduated from Tennessee Tech in 1995 with a BS in Mechanical Engineering. He completed co-ops at Teledyne Brown in Huntsville, AL, where he worked as an analytical aerospace engineering student on the “Freedom” (International Space Station) project; and at Tenneco Automotive in Smithville, TN, which is a Tier 1 automotive supplier that manufactures exhaust systems for Toyota, Nissan, and GM. At Tenneco, he was a Quality Engineering student and a full-time Quality Engineer. He has also been a Supplier Quality Engineer for Peterbilt Motors in Nashville, TN, where he supported supplier and assembly audits. He now works for Cummins Filtration, where he has occupied the following roles:

  • Quality Department Supervisor and Quality Engineer
  • Six Sigma Black Belt
  • Warranty, Technical Assistance and Service Engineering Manager
  • Warranty, Technical Assistance and Service Engineering Manager for North America
  • Quality Department Manager (Cookeville Plant)
  • Operations Manager (Cookeville Plant)
  • Global Aftermarket Quality Director
  • Quality Director for Operations (Cookeville Plant)
  • Sr. Technical Advisor and Engineering Knowledge Management Leader for Cummins Filtration

He will discuss different management styles in the technical workplace. Throughout his career, Mr. Long has had the opportunity to experience and observe the challenges and successes engineers face when they shift from a technical to a management role.

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Topic: “From Ramen Noodles to Filet Mignon”

Speaker: Trisha West-Pinckney

Trisha West-Pinckney possesses over 15 years of experience in certifications, compliance reviews, engineering, acquisition support and management, and business development. She is a certified editor and holds a degree in Mechanical Engineering, a Master Degree in Communication with a concentration in Marketing, and a Master Certificate from Harvard University in Strategies for Growing Businesses. She has worked with large corporations such as Lockheed Martin, Booz Allen Hamilton, and Deloitte prior to starting Dantli Corp.

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Topic: “Specialized Engineering”

Speaker: Dakota Johnson, Daniel Perez and Lauren Lewis

Dakota Johnson was born and raised in Cookeville, TN. She attended Tennessee Tech and earned her B.S. in Chemical Engineering in 2008. Dakota immediately began working for Cummins Filtration in the Coolants and Chemicals Team. She finished her M.B.A. in 2014, shortly after transitioning into a technical management role within the Coolants and Chemicals group. Dakota lives in Cookeville, TN with her husband and two children.

Daniel Perez was born and raised in Barranquilla, Colombia. He went to college at the University of South Florida in Tampa, FL where he obtained his BS and MS degrees in Mechanical Engineering. Before joining Cummins, he worked as a manufacturing engineer for an orange juice company in Florida. In January 2015, Daniel started working for Cummins Filtration as a Supply Chain Operations analyst for Coolants and Chemicals, at which time he relocated to Cookeville, TN.

Lauren Lewis is a Chemical Engineer that has worked in coolant and chemical technology development for Cummins Filtration for over 5 years. In this role, she has served as an expert in field service issue resolution and focused on the development and commercialization of new chemical technology to meet the needs of modern heavy duty engines. Lauren received her BS from Tennessee Tech and is currently pursuing an MBA from the University of Massachusetts. Lauren resides in Hendersonville, TN with her husband and two dogs.